Archive for October, 2013

You don’t have to like someone to learn from them

By Jena Williams

That was some of the best advice my dad ever gave me. It got me through many a high school and college course. (Note – teachers are great but sometimes their personalities get confused with the unsavory topics they are teaching!)

Opportunities to learn don’t end when you get out of school either. We learn from experience, colleagues, friends, family and bosses all of our lives. Some lessons are costly, but sometimes, if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and grab an opportunity, they can be free.

Here’s your chance to grab that opportunity by sending representatives from your company to a free safety training so they can come back with the tools to train your entire team.  Some companies are discouraged because the class is taught by Teamsters Training. But as the title of this blog suggests, this is your opportunity to take my dad’s advice! Since this training is paid for by a SHIP* grant from Washington State’s L&I and not by union funds, there will not be a plug for union membership. You’ve got nothing to lose and can gain a lot!

Doug Stiffarm, Safety Director of Miles Resources in Puyallup, Washington agrees:

“What I appreciated most was that in just two days, we received valuable information, specific to the trucking industry, in a format that makes communicating the message easy for anyone. The information is visually appealing to draw drivers into the safety message. This is very important if an employer has shift drivers who cannot always attend a scheduled safety meeting. I think it’s a wonderful format and Miles Resources has implemented these training materials into our weekly drivers’ safety meetings.”

So what will you get?

The two day class is Safer Drivers: Workers Training Workers and covers both the new CSA program and 50 weeks’ worth of training using TIRES** training materials. Send a key driver that is respected by his or her peers and a safety representative and they will come back with the ability to train the rest of your team every week for a year in 15 minute intervals.

The grant is ending soon so take advantage of this last opportunity:

Spokane – November 12-13
Tukwila – November 20-21
Tacoma – December 4-5
Everett – December 11-12
Tukwila – December 18-19

We all have a common goal, which is keeping workers safe. So, if the training is great, go ahead and grab the opportunity!

For more information or to sign up call 509-545-8297 or These trainings are only in Washington State.

*Safety & Health Investment Projects. For information on how to apply for your own SHIP grant:

**Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis.

Tread lightly?

By Jena Williams

Slip and fall injuries plague the trucking industry during the winter months. There are a variety of factors to look out for: An early freeze can take down drivers when they go to leave their cabs first thing in the morning as will a slippery patch in a lesser-used portion of the delivery bay.  Ice and darker conditions often combine to, well, make things more of a challenge.

The good news is that you can prepare to take the challenge head on and prevail!

Drivers – check the tread on your footwear for wear. Put away the cowboy boots and sneakers and bring out the work boots.

Employers – inspect your bays and parking areas. Fill potholes and keep icy areas sanded. Enforce proper footwear.

What has task, environment and footwear got to do with it? This interactive training shows how all three impact the friction needed to keep you on your feet. In other words:  fun, comedic training for injury prevention:

Need safety posters and tip sheets? is at your service:

Wear the footwear of the pros:

Don’t let your footwear get you down:

Inspect your boots:

Stay safe out there!

Prepare now

By Jena Williams

With the sunshine we’ve seen this week, it’s hard to imagine that winter will be here soon. However, now, while it’s dry, is the perfect time to get ready for it. Inspect your chains and double check your emergency supplies.

Use these safety publications from to get started:

Emergency supplies for truck drivers

A truck driver’s winter survival kit:

Tire Chaining

Are you the tire chain master? Test your skills with this interactive tire-chaining simulation:

As always, free safety training materials are available at

Semi truck driver dies in crash with another semi

By Jena Williams

Our thoughts go out to the drivers of both trucks as one dies in a collision in Grant County yesterday afternoon.

More details:

Can an obese nation be starving?

By Jena Williams

According to the website EHow, using a high-octane gasoline in an engine will help it run smoother; lower the octane in the gasoline and the vehicle will run rough. The same is true if you use a low-cetane fuel in a diesel engine.

Our bodies, like our trucks, need the right fuel to run smooth.

It’s not news to anyone that according to the Centers for Disease Control, 35.7% of U.S. adults are obese or that the World Health Organization states that worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980.

However, with all this talk of obesity, eating right, calories, and how much is too much, is it possible that we are ignoring one of the main culprits in our nation’s obesity epidemic?

Some studies show, that in an effort to increase the volume and longevity of crops, the nutritional value of our nation’s food supply has decreased. Additionally, we are consuming more processed foods, so eating 2,000 calories today does not make our bodies as healthy as eating 2,000 calories 30 years ago.

It’s easy to point at obese people and say eat right, eat less, exercise more. But instinct takes over when bodies are craving nutrition. Quality and quantity don’t matter when you are overly hungry. Until you are at a point of satiation, it’s difficult to make rational decisions about food. And can you ever be satiated when your belly is full, but your body’s cells are starving for nutrients?

An extreme example of this was demonstrated in Band of Brothers: Why we need to fight, Part 2, (Dir. David Frankel and Mikael Salomon. Home Box Office, 2001). You may remember the scene where the few surviving, starving prisoners of the Nazis were about to be liberated from a concentration camp. Seeing them dying of starvation, we were all longing for them to be handed food (in huge quantities,) but a physician stopped the release from the camp. He stated that in their current state, they would overeat if released and needed to be gradually reintroduced to food. Their nutrition needed to be carefully managed or they would die. Oh how my heart broke for them in that scene.

On a much less drastic scale, if our bodies are starving for nutrition that we aren’t getting, are we also capable of eating ourselves to death* to meet an instinctive need?

In a report titled “Still no free lunch,” by The Organic Center, “Government data from both America and the United Kingdom have shown that the concentration of a range of essential nutrients in the food supply has declined in the last few decades, with double digit percentage declines of iron, zinc, calcium, selenium** and other essential nutrients across a wide range of common foods.”

The authors go on to say “Fewer nutrients per serving translate into less nutrition per calorie consumed.” Less nutrition per calorie equals people over-eating to sustain minimal nutrition. In addition, what happens inside the body when it’s not getting enough nutrition? Doesn’t a starving body behave like a vehicle with not enough fuel or the wrong fuel by breaking down? Is the upswing in chronic diseases and some kinds of cancers linked to reduced nutrition in our food?

I’m not a physician, so you should talk to yours before making changes to your diet, including adding supplements. WebMD also recommends looking for a seal of approval from an organization that tests supplements such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia or NSF International.

Keeping our truck drivers healthy is vital to our nation. Not only because we need you to keep driving (as there is a shrinking labor pool to replace you), but also because driver health is being more tightly regulated (DOT physicals.) Maybe this can be one more tool in your arsenal for good health.

Just some thoughts to chew on. I’d like to hear yours in the comments.


Get The Organic Center’s Full Report Still No Free Lunch:

CDC obesity information:

Link to WebMD

*Wink to those who just thought of Pizza the Hut in Space Balls, (Dir. Mel Brooks. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [MGM], 1987).

**Linked to prevention of pancreatic cancer: